Lessons from a 7 year old

Last week, I had the pleasure of taking care of a beautiful seven year old girl.  During a planned sleepover at her grandmother's, she was bit by the neighbor's dog.  I was the trauma surgeon that day and was asked to fix her up.

This is an easy thing for me to do.  However, most seven year olds require sedation or anesthesia to tolerate stitches.  There can be crying, drama and anxiety.  Sometimes, we even have to go to the operating room for general anesthesia.

When I came into the room, I saw the cutest girl and her mother.  They were kind, pleasant and taking the whole incident in stride.  I asked the girl if she would allow me to do the stitches in the room, rather than take her to surgery.  She said, "sure, I can do it."

While going through the steps of irrigating the cuts, numbing them and stitching, she was able to immediately change the unpleasantness into good feelings.  While I was irrigating with cold saline, she told me how she swam in even colder pools.  When instilling the local anesthetic, she said I've had things hurt before.  It will be over soon.  Her mother put on her favorite cartoon on her phone.  Her mother talked about her favorite things.  It was a joy to take care of them.

I relay this story as this is not the typical behavior of our society.  I was so impressed by their ability to take a bad situation and continuously flip it to good.  With every step, they immediately thought of the good side of things.

I learned a lot from my seven year old patient that day.  Be the good!!!

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